Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride welcomes receiving AstraZeneca vaccine

Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride has received his first dose of coronavirus vaccine.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 12:06 pm

Dr McBride was given a shot of AstraZeneca at the vaccination centre at the Ulster Hospital at Dundonald, near Belfast.

After receiving the AstraZeneca jab on Monday morning, Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride insisted it was “safe and effective”.

Dr McBride said the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had made clear there was no evidence of a link between the vaccine and reported cases of blood clots.

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Northern Ireland Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride receives his second dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from Nurse Alana McCaffery at the Ulster Hospital Covid-19 vaccination centre in Belfast

He said there had been no reported concerns of vaccine linkage to clotting in Northern Ireland.

“I didn’t need to be called a second time this morning when the opportunity was to get my vaccine,” he said.

In regard to the case reports that have prompted some European countries, including the Irish Republic, to pause use of AstraZeneca, Dr McBride said: “The MHRA is very clear that they do not feel that those are linked to the vaccine and are probably random events which are occurring, and would have occurred normally.

“What the public should be assured of is that the MHRA is a global leader in safety and efficacy of vaccines and is publishing data on side effects on a weekly basis.”

Dr McBride added: “I was delighted to get the AstraZeneca vaccine this morning.

“This is a safe, effective vaccine as recommended by MHRA and let’s remember – this virus kills people, kills people my age, younger people and older people, and the benefit is strongly in favour of people getting this vaccine at this time.”

Dr Michael McBride said he had spoken to Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn at “some length” on Sunday about the move to pause the rollout of AstraZeneca south of the border.

“Those are rightly matters for the authorities in the Republic,” he said.

“They made a very precautionary decision, they’ve recognised that, while they assess the evidence more fully.

“MHRA has looked at and will continue to look at the evidence, and I’m satisfied that the right thing to do, the balance of risk and benefit, is to continue with the vaccine, and that’s why I’m here today getting my vaccine.”

Dr McBride said it was important that people continued to come forward for their jabs.

“I think it’s crucially important that vaccination programmes are rolled out,” he said.

“The MHRA have looked at all of this data, they continue to look at the data on an ongoing basis, they see no causal link between the vaccine and these events that are being reported.

“I think we can all be confident that the authorities in all countries keep this under continuous review and we can take confidence (from that).

“Obviously the authorities in the Republic have made a decision. I understand that was a very precautionary decision. And they’re going to look at that later this week.”

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